Following several years' worth of dubstep and drum'n'bass 12"s in addition to full-lengths and EPs recorded as one half of duos Akkord and Kiyoko, Joe McBride made his full-length debut as Synkro in 2015 with the Changes album. Instead of making a big, epic statement, the album is sparse and suspenseful, intentionally holding back and suggesting rhythms and textures rather than filling them out entirely. McBride avoids settling into predictable drum'n'bass, U.K. garage, or dubstep rhythms, but he hints at all of them, making the beats softly tick, pulse, and throb without getting rambunctious or locking into full gear. There are a few exceptions, however, such as the rippling garage beats and submerged but sharp bass of "Let Me Go," the midtempo trip-hop rhythm of "Midnight Sun," and the distraught breakbeat-driven R&B of "Body Close." Other than that song and "Shoreline," the majority of the album's vocals come in the form of distant samples that sound like they're trapped and crying out for help. The album generally maintains a gloomy atmosphere, but ends up at its most reflective moment with the serene ambient cut "Harbour," which features swirling effects approximating crashing waves.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson